01 January 2014

CHRISTMAS MARKETS IN BERLIN #LIFE #TRAVEL


Long time no speak! My New Years resolution this year is to really get into my blog and write 3 posts a week, which I’m hoping will be manageable alongside my uni work. So here is a post dedicated to Berlin. Just before Christmas, Sean and I went to Berlin to see the Christmas markets and I must say I was majorly impressed with Berlin as a whole. Without sounding OCD, it’s just such a clean city! They must be investing a lot of money into the city as everywhere you turn there are building or maintenance works which, to me, split some of the sights but I’m sure when everything is completed it will be lovely. Anyway, enough of my rambling...

Hotel
Our hotel was perfect for everything we needed. We stayed at the Titanic Comfort Inn in Mitte which was ideally located a short distance to all the major sights. The room was small but modern which suited us as we didn’t spend much time in there. The room was cleaned daily with fresh towels and was pretty affordable considering all of this.

Transport 
On our first day in Berlin, we walked everywhere in Mitte! I think we must have walked a good 10 miles at least that day…whilst it was a great work out, my calves did struggle for the rest of the trip. After that first day we used the U-Bahn and S-Bahn more frequently so we could visit places a bit further away and there was a station right around the corner from our hotel. We found them very easy to use as they were similar to the London underground but I would definitely recommend getting a map as we found that so helpful. It’s actually relatively cheap too, we paid around 7,20€ for an all day ticket, although we didn’t have our tickets checked once for the duration of our trip (not that I’m encouraging you to not purchase a ticket because you just know you will be that one person to get the fine)

Food and Drink
We didn’t really have much ‘traditional’ German food (except maybe the bratwurst at the christmas markets which was arguably the one of the best hotdogs I’ve ever had), but what we did have was great with large portions at reasonable prices. We stopped for drinks a lot and Sean became very partial to a Berliner Kindl or two, whilst I would have water or a hot chocolate. One thing I will say though is we struggled to find places for breakfast (maybe the Germans don’t eat breakfast?), but when we did find a place the breakfast was yummy with a selection of different meats, fruit and bread. My kind of breakfast!



Christmas markets
Now the Christmas markets here were unlike anything I had ever seen! They were so big, bright with a friendly atmosphere and I must say brought my beloved Bath Christmas Market down a peg or two in comparison (don’t get me wrong, the Bath one still holds a special place in my heart). You will find a Christmas market almost everywhere in Berlin, on our first day we encountered no less than 5 different markets. They all sell similar things; lots of food, christmas decorations and most importantly Gluhwein! We spent many of hours standing under the heaters with a glass of Gluhwein just watching the world go by (or watching people fall over whilst ice skating). It is worth noting here that to begin with we didn’t realise that you had to pay extra to ‘rent’ the glasses for drinks at the market. When you finished your drink you could then either keep the glass or return it for your money back, a clever idea and lovely little souvenir! There are food stalls everywhere, and I don’t think I have ever eaten so many crepes and Bratwurst in my life.    

The sights 
This might sound really lame but with the exception of the Reichstag and Checkpoint Charlie I didn't really know what sights there was to see in Berlin. But after a little research and the help of my book (seriously this thing never left my side) I had a list as long as my arm. Seans favourite was the TV tower, which we actually stumbled upon on our first day when exploring(how do you stumble upon this massive thing I hear you say), we were lucky that we went up the tower on a day with clear skies so we had a great view of all of Berlin. We also went to the Brandenberg Gate, Berlin Dom and Museum Island (who knew we would go to an Egyptian museum in Berlin!). But my favourite thing we went to was the Museum at Checkpoint Charlie. I’ve always heard the name ‘Checkpoint Charlie’ but never really understood what it was until now and I really enjoyed learning all about Berlins history (I’m a secret history geek!).    


I hope you enjoyed reading this and found it useful. I’d definitely recommended visiting Berlin at some point, and if you can at Christmas thats even better! It’s a city that is full of culture, a friendly atmosphere and so much to do and see!    

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